Happy New Year to you, my dear Friends! I wish you all the best year of your lives!
I just re-read my New Year's post from last year. It was so hopeful, so optimistic, so free from any inkling of what was to come. How strange it feels to stand on the cusp of 2021, looking back on what was for most a very challenging year, and looking ahead to the uncertainties that loom out there in the great unknown.
I hesitate to admit this, but in many ways 2020 has been my favourite year yet. No joke. I was going to make a list of the good and the bad, but I could only think of one thing* for the "bad" category. It's kind of a big one, and I'll be dealing with the repercussions of it for years to come, but if that's the only negative thing that happened to me this past year, I'll take it. (*I gained back quite a bit of the weight I'd lost during the previous two years. This really sucks, but at least the process was very enjoyable [hello carbs!] AND I know I can do something about it.)
In the interest of sensitivity, I'm not going to gush any more about my great year. I want to acknowledge and respect the many who had a horrible year for a variety of terrible reasons. If your 2020 was filled with loss and despair and fear and pain, please know that I see you and I care. I'm so sorry you had to endure such hardship. It's not fair, and you didn't deserve it.
2021 will not magically change anything for anyone. Our issues won't instantly disappear as the calendar page turns. Anyone who thinks so, who dares to admit to making New Year's resolutions these days, is promptly christened a naive, foolish idealist.
I see where these sensible, self-aware realists are coming from, but I don't think anyone can deny the power of new beginnings, of fresh starts. We're wired to respond to this notion of a tabula rasa. Whether overt or implied, natural or contrived, we all crave a blank slate.
I feel like 2020 was a recalibrating kind of year for me. My unique combination of circumstances worked together to reposition me closer to what I want my life to look like. I learned a lot about myself this year. Some things I thought I wanted and worked best for me turned out to be the very things that absolutely did not, that would prove to work against me as I sought to reach my goals.
For example, I thought I wanted a life in which I worked one hundred percent from home. I had determined in the previous couple of years that a full-time job outside the home was not my ideal life. However, it turns out that being home 24/7 isn't very good for me, either. I don't use my time wisely, I have a really hard time getting motivated and staying focused, AND I eat. A lot. (Self-discipline - or more accurately, the lack thereof - has always been my thorn-in-the-flesh)
So, instead of working one full-time job outside the home, I'm now dividing my time and talents into three part-time N-deavours: Norwex, Nannying, and Novel-writing. (😊) It seems to be a really great fit so far. These ventures align with my values, gifts, priorities and passions, as well as providing the flexibility I've always wanted so I can serve in various capacities and be available to my family. PLUS it gets me out of the house for a few hours most days, helping lighten someone else's load. I'm loving it!
That is, I'm loving it sometimes. All too often, feelings of fear and doubt and guilt come creeping in, standing between me and the joy and peace and contentment I long to experience.
Somewhere along the way, pretty early on in my life, the following equation embedded itself into the fabric of my being as the ultimate truth: sacrifice + suffering = service. In other words, the only way my life could be pleasing to God was if I was sacrificing and suffering.
And much of my life has lined up with that equation. Mental and physical illness, financial struggles and relationship issues are just a few things that have been constants over the years. Now that they're gone, it just doesn't feel right. I'm second-guessing myself and my choices, wondering if I completely missed the mark.
I definitely don't have the answer to this particular conundrum; maybe I never will. But a Facebook friend posted something the other day that helped move me closer to resolution in my heart: "God's invitation isn't ONLY into sacrifice. It's also an invitation into deep, profound joy. We are sons and daughters, not employees. His first thought about me isn't how to use me." ❤ #TruthBomb
My word for 2021 is LOVE. It took a long time to decide this time around; there are so many areas where I desire change and growth. But what I want most of all is to get to the place where I can be vulnerable and trusting and open enough to receive all the love God wants to lavish on me, and then to allow that love to overflow into every aspect of my life, into every interaction and relationship, every task and responsibility, every decision and possibility.
What's your word for 2021?